Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Day Four - Llanbedrog to Rhiw, 15 miles.

Oh what a day that was! A day of three halves in fact. And from what I've heard it was a fine example of the Lleyn's micro-climate in action. I have enough battery left to type but not to publish, and no signal anyway, but here goes.

Half 1: 10:00am - 1pm. Lovely weather.
I left my B&B and the next hour and a half was an absolute joy, down to Llanbedrog beach (a fabulous family beach) and around the headland immediately south of Llanbedrog. The start was tough, up 250ft of stone steps, but the headland is beautiful. It was completely covered with gorse and heather, both in flower. The sun was out though I had seen the forecast which wasn't good, and there was plenty of cloud around in the distance.

I really can't see the point of windsurfing (ie. falling in the sea at regular intervals with a piece of material on top of you). There were three lads doing their stuff in the sea close to Abersoch. They would spend ages getting the thing up, last 30 seconds then spend an eternity getting it up again. I can't think of anything else like it. No really I can't.

Half 2: 1:00pm - 4:00pm. Dreadful weather.
I was pleased to arrive in Abersoch, one of my favourite places on the Lleyn. It's surprising how small it is when you approach it from the north. Just before I entered the town there was a family in front of me. One of them was a very overweight girl opening a packet of giant chocolate buttons. As she did the packet split and they rolled all over the main road. She started screaming, "Me buttons, me buttons!" while several of us sniggered. Her dad then did the only decent thing and STOPPED THE TRAFFIC!!!!! It was quite a sight watching them pick them all up while a line of cars waited, not very patiently.

Then it started to rain.

A lot.

At which point I accepted what I had expected, that it was going to rain for a long time. Good job I'm a hardened walker, eh? Well maybe, but I'm definitely not a hardened camper these days so I phoned a B&B at my destination, Rhiw (again only slightly more expensive than the campsite), and immediately felt better about the walk ahead. I don't know why though because it was horrendous. Three hours of torrential rain, high winds and zero visibility as I rounded the large headland south of Abersoch. I suddenly had the need to see someone else, just to reassure myself that I am not insane. I didn't, so I probably am. I was just grateful that Jen and I had done the same walk from Abersoch previously on a lovely day (last Christmas!), so:
A. I did know how good the scenery was even though I couldn't see it and
B: Each time I reached a gate, stile or junction I knew which way to go without having to get the map out.

Actually the waymarking on this path is decidedly erratic. The council keep changing the route so some signs point the right way, some point the wrong way and some don't exist where they should. At least being on the coast gives some clues as to which way to go.

It was also cold for the first time (apart from Thursday night when I was cold in the tent). After coming off the headland I hid from the wind, put my fleece on, ate a late lunch as it had actually stopped raining, strode onto Hell's Mouth beach and everything changed.........

Half 3: 4:00pm - 7:00pm. November weather.
Well no it didn't, it just did in my head. I was warm, it wasn't raining and I was staring at one of the finest beaches you could ever wish to see. Hell's Mouth is not a sunbathing beach (especially today), it's a triumph of nature, four miles or so of geological majesty, etc, etc. Walking the length of it was superb, once I'd decided that I only had to pretend it was November.

I've been really lucky with the tides without planning around them. Each afternoon the tide has been going out, which has coincided with any beach walks I've had to do. So once again I was able to walk along firm, wet sand rather than dry, for just under an hour and a half (my second very long beach, the other to the east of Pwllheli possibly being slightly longer but not as dramatic).

Dead animal of the day - a very large jellyfish with superlong tentacles (or whatever it is they have).

In total there was 717m of ascent during today's walk (and it felt like it!), which is quite a lot for a coastal path. The last ascent was a steep and gruelling 190m up to Rhiw where I am staying. It's in a stunning spot facing the end of the peninsula but it's very exposed. It's late evening now and it's still blowing a gale outside, with regular showers. Still, it's my half day tomorrow down to Aberdaron where I meet Jen, so I'll cope with whatever nature throws at me.

-- Posted from my iPhone

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